Wednesday, 2 January 2008

The cool, cool, cool breeze of early morning...

This is a picture of our garden with a delightful variety of happy plants and dogs.
Wow what a relief when that cool breeze came last night.
After 43 and 39 degrees it is now a cool 20 degrees.
The temperature will rise again today but for the moment its cool.
Hopefully our slightly wilted plants will have had time to refresh themselves .
I have a large new mosquito net (bought last year from the op shop) with the plan to hang it up outside somewhere and dry things inside the net on the old wooden potting table.
Besides my 2 Hills hoists in the back yard I also have a brand new fold down wall mounted Hills clothes line, someone gave me so I shall be looking for a place to put that and make another shade house for summer and maybe put plastic over it for a hot house for seedlings in winter.
My neighbors will be so pleased that in a street filled with imitation Tuscan town houses there will be a little green Tuscan vegetable garden.
What shall I dry, well chillies and herbs to start with, maybe some tomatoes and peppers!
Just as well I don't live in an area in the USA where it is illegal to even dry your clothes outside, because I guess outside food drying under a mosquito net would be a no no!
I am sure the Mexicans dried their corn and chillies out in the sun. And I know all those wonderful spices and pappadams we get from India are sun dried.
Kath and Deb produce wonderful dried foods using a dehydrator and the flavour is great, maybe I shall buy one.
Any way enjoy your day. Chill out and stay COOL!
Actually I came on line to introduce you to 2 blogs you might like to read.
The first is Christy at her blog Farm Dreams
The second will make you laugh as you read Chile's Christmas poems, My Twelve Days of canning plus the Final Christmas Rhyme. They start dated December the 14th.
You will find the second blog at Chili Chews


Chook said...

I just dried some of the apricots that came from the fallen branch of our tree. The birds weren't a problem for me but the ants were. I ended up putting them on a stand in a tray of water to keep the ants at bay!

Pattie Baker said...

Maggie--You won't believe this, but I actually AM ALLOWED to dry food outside! At least for now!

Chile said...

Thank you for the link, Maggie. I'm glad folks are enjoying the poems.

I dried both red chiles and corn without a dehydrator this summer.

I hung the chiles (picked while fleshy and fresh) on long strings like a ristra but with plenty of space between each one for good air flow. They must be checked carefully for molding and I would also recommend checking inside before using them as I found a little gray mold inside a completely dried one that looked fine from the outside. Ideally, chiles should be allowed to dry on the plant, but these were out of my control.

I dried the corn two different ways. This was field corn, also called "elote blanco", not sweet corn. I dropped clean shucked ears into a leg of old pantyhose and tied a knot between each one. Each leg held about 6 ears. These dried in the garage over about a month. I knocked off the kernels and can now cook them up with lime to make hominy.

On the advice of a friend, I also roasted some of the corn and then dried it in the same manner. The resulting kernels are called "chicos" and do not require cooking with lime. They can be tossed into a nice stew.

Sorry for the long comment, but Ihope the information is helpful.

Maggie said...

Thank you all for your great comments, I read about how to do things but it is always good to hear what successes others have had. I love the panty hose idea and once I dried chillies but obviously did not leave enough air flow and some went mouldy. Hominy? I shall have to go and check what that is.
Water bath to keep the ants away, good idea.
My chillies don't dry on the bushs, maybe I watered them too much!